HC Deb 01 April 1889 vol 334 cc1231-2

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention had been called to the following statement, which appeared in the Daily Express on 21st March:— The townland of Doora, near Ennis, was on Tuesday night the scene of a serious moonlighting raid. The houses of a number of farmers in the district to whom Poor Law Voting papers had been distributed the previous day were visited by a party of men partly disguised, carrying sticks, who demanded the papers; the houses of two farmers named M'Inerney were first visited, next that of John Heffernan, from all of whom the papers were taken. Pat Lawlor's was next visited, but here Lawlor and his son were prepared for the moonlight visitors, who promptly decamped. At the house of Michael Lawlor the raiders met with a stubborn resistance, and in the melée Lawlor got a deep out on the head. The raiders were here baffled in their object. In all, the papers were taken from six houses. A very bitter contest is being conducted in the electoral division of the Poor Law Union of Ennis; the candidates are Mr. Paul Skehan, Secretary to the Branch of the National League formerly existing at Doora, and Mr. John Lynch, and the houses which were raided belong to the supporters of the latter. Whether any arrests had since been made; and whether he would take steps to prevent any interference with the freedom of election at Doora?


The Constabulary authorities report that the facts are substantially as stated in this question, but that, so far as the police are aware, the number of houses visited was five. The raid was made at about midnight on 19th March. Two of the farmers surrendered their voting papers at once upon their being demanded, a third refused to do so, but upon three of his windows being completely smashed from outside, his wife, to prevent further injury, surrendered the paper. When the house of Lawlor was broken into he resisted, receiving a cut on the head by being struck with a stick, the wound, however, not being serious. He forced a hatchet from one of his assailants while the other men were engaged in breaking his windows. They had, however, to leave without his paper, and they were equally unsuccessful at his brother's house. The object of the raid was to prevent these farmers from voting against Mr. Skehan, the secretary of the late local branch of the National League, printed notices having been posted on the doors and houses of several of the voters calling upon them to support the League candidate. No person has been so far made amenable. The intimidation has proved ineffectual, the other candidate, Mr. Lynch, having; been elected, I understand, by a majority of 30 votes.

MR. P. J. POWER (Waterford, E.)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that moonlighting was unknown in Clare until his policy was introduced?


I believe that Clare has distinguished itself in every variety of agrarian crime.